GUE Fundamentals, Doubles & Dry Suit Classes at Dutch Springs

This past weekend, three students took part in a Global Underwater Explorers Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students enrolled in programs covering double tank configurations, primary light use, and one completed their dry suit specialty course.

The classes were taught by Scuba Shack’s resident GUE Instructor Ed Hayes, and assisted by instructor Gary Woods. All students worked very hard to take their diving skills to the next level.

If you are interested in learning more about Global Underwater Explorers, the advantages of diving with doubles, a dry suit or a primary light, please contact the shop for more information.

GUE Fundamentals class at Dutch Springs

On Thursday Aug. 10, five students from Scuba Shack in Rocky Hill, Connecticut took part in a Global Underwater Explores Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The class was taught by GUE Instructor Ed Hayes and assisted by Gary Woods. The intense training lasted until Sunday afternoon with multiple dives and lectures each day. Divers were trained in pre-dive, ascents and descents, buoyancy control, forward and backward propulsion, turns, air shares, “basic five,” surface marker buoy deployment, team diving skills and much more.

All dives were videotaped, reviewed and critiqued by the instructor and the students. Congratulations to all the students who participated and trained very hard to improve their diving skills.

If you are interested in taking your diving to the next level, the GUE Fundamentals Class could be for you. Please contact the shop for more information.

Students complete GUE Prep Class

On July 21 and 22, five divers completed the open water sessions for the GUE Prep Class that was conducted by Scuba Shack Instructor Gary Woods and GUE Instructor Ed Hayes. The two day in water class was preceded two classroom and pool sessions.

The intense training was held at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students were trained in pre-dive, forward and backward propulsion, ascents and descent drills, air shares and “basic five” drills. This class was designed for students wishing to further their diving skills and to reach the goal of total control in the water. If you’re interested in the GUE Prep Class, or any other GUE programs, contact Scuba Shack today.

Congratulations to all the participants who worked very hard over two long days of diving with very good results.


Annual trip to the Bahamas – Hundreds of Sharks!

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since May 24, the day the Scuba Shack gang invaded Nassau, Bahamas, for the annual Scuba Shack Memorial Day Weekend. Twenty one adventurers participated in another fun filled weekend led by Scuba Shack instructor Peter Katz. Our usual haunt, Orange Hill Beach Inn, had sustained significant damage during Hurricane Matthew back in October but managed to accommodate us. Perhaps not in the lap of luxury, more like Motel 6 only no light left on for us since it had burnt out years ago and no one has gotten around to replace it. But they managed to feed us breakfast every morning and provided an excellent BBQ on our last night.

The Stuart Cove dive staff were terrific! Unfortunately, our previous crew was no longer at the shop but our new crew, Captain Wendell, Divemasters Katie and Alex were able to fill the void. They did an excellent job and were more than willing and able to inject energy and enthusiasm into the trip.

Many of the dive sites have undergone changes since Matthew passed through which made for interesting dives. By far the dive highlight was the trip to the Lost Blue Hole and Rose Island. This year we did two dives at the hole. The first included a visit from a huge loggerhead turtle and a school of 100-150 sharpnosed sharks exiting from the depths of the hole, en masse. The second dive was a shark feed with eight Caribbean Reef Sharks up close and personal. How close you ask? Ask Anja whose mask was knocked off by one of the sharks as it swam by to partake of the feed.

Our evening out encompassed our usual favorites, Capriccio’s, Café Matisse, and Luciano’s. We were surprised to find that we were joined for dinner by Dan Marino and former Miami Dolphins as well as the mascot and cheerleaders. It turns out that Pete Walden went to college with Dan. The next thing we knew, people were posing for pictures with Dan. It made for an exciting evening.

Although we were missing a few of our regulars, the “newbies” joined right in and in no time felt like “regulars”. The best thing was we “old timers” were able to tell the same old stories and jokes to a new audience. All in all, everyone had a spectacular time and are looking forward to next year’s trip.

Nassau Trip Video

Nassau Trip Photo Gallery

Hundreds of Sharks!

Posted by Doug Shuckra on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Grand Cayman Trip Report

I just got back from a five day trip to the Sunset House on Grand Cayman. It was a promotional deal to check out their facilities and the dive operation. The flight from Bradley was easy and fairly quick on American Airlines. The taxi ride to the resort took about 10 minutes and a smooth check in at the front desk. I stayed in a courtyard room which was clean and nice with two double beds, a front porch and a great view.

The resort has a nice pool with a waterfall, three ladders to access the beautiful Caribbean Sea for diving or swimming, a large covered bar with plenty of table seating, and a restaurant that serves three meals a day with waterside dining available.

The dive operations were exceptional. The Sunset House is designed for scuba divers and every aspect of the diving is smooth and easy. The dive boats are clean and in good condition with plenty of room on board, even with a large group. The shore diving was great with easy access to the water, and the house reef is as good as many of the dive boat sites. The crew was very accommodating and provided some of the best service I have seen.

If you are looking for a warm tropical getaway with great diving at a reasonable price, consider joining Scuba Shack in October for a week long adventure at the Sunset House on Grand Cayman.

Trip Photos

Trip Video

Fall PADI Rescue Diver class photos

In mid-November, five divers participated in the Open Water Rescue Scenarios at Brownstone Discovery & Exploration Park. All divers were students in Scuba Shack’s Rescue Diver Program which started in September.

After many classroom and pool sessions, divers were put through live rescue scenarios including panicked diver, lost diver and injured diver using multiple rescue techniques and included emergency oxygen therapy, AED, first aid and CPR.

Special thanks to Matt and Shannon who donated their time to be in water accident victims. The class was led by Scuba Shack instructors Nick Civitillo and Gary Woods.

Rescue Dive Photo Gallery

Dive Trip Report – Scuba Shack visits Bonaire

In mid-October, 23 divers including four instructors and three divemasters left on Scuba Shack’s Dive Trip to the beautiful island of Bonaire. After a long day of travel we arrived at the Divi Flamingo Resort. The hotel was very nice and located right on the water within walking distance to downtown Kralendijk. The resort featured two nice swimming pools, two ocean front restaurants; Chibi-Chibi and Pure Ocean, a casino and beach bar that had its grand re-opening on Friday. There was also a sandy beach and four nice docks stretching out into the water for swimming or sun bathing.

After a mandatory dive briefing on Saturday afternoon from the on-site dive center, Divi Dive, we had some much needed dinner and a good night’s rest to get ready for the big adventure on Sunday morning.

The dive operations, run by Serge De Groote, were exceptional! Dive lockers right on the boat dock made loading and unloading gear a breeze. Ed managed to get all 23 of us on one large dive boat and even with a big group; the dive trips were smooth and easy.

The trip package included a two tank boat dive every morning and unlimited shore diving. Many of us chose to do an additional afternoon boat dive which was offered at a much discounted price. The boats were clean and roomy and the divemasters and captains were as nice and as helpful as you could ask for.

The diving was especially good with water temps reaching 84 degrees and the visibility between 50 and 100 feet. Lots of fish, beautiful coral formations, octopus, turtles, tarpon and eels were to be found on most dives. Some of the more notable dive sites were The Salt Pier, Small Wall, Windsock and the wreck of The Hilma Hooker. The house reef was also very nice with many divers doing afternoon and night dives right off the boat dock.

Thanks again to all who participated for making this another fun and successful dive trip. Hope to see you all again on a future Scuba Shack dive vacation!

Underwater Photo Gallery from Gary Woods


Milford Fire Department trains with Scuba Shack

Earlier this month, Scuba Shack’s Public Safety Division was at the Milford Fire Department in Milford, Connecticut teaching a Public Safety Dive Course. Eight members of the fire department’s Dive Rescue Team received all-day training both in the classroom and in the local high school swimming pool.

Buoyancy control, propulsion, weighting, equipment and body control were all covered in detail. Class was conducted by instructors Ed Hayes and Gary Woods.

Diving Bonaire – Photos

Wondering what the landscape – both above and below the waterline – is like in Bonaire? Here are some photos from Scuba Shack instructor Gary Woods.

The Bahamas scuba adventure continues!

And the adventure continues! May 25, 2016 and the stalwart Scuba Shack Tribe descended upon Nassau, New Providence Island, the Bahamas. Once again led by Scuba Shack instructor Peter Katz, our group of 20 assembled for the annual Memorial Day weekend of diving and fun in the sun. The weather gods were kind to us, since it rained each day but never interfered with the diving or the eating. I am happy to report that two of our divers successfully completed their Open Water certifications, including 10 year old Nikita, her enthusiasm and excitement were contagious.

scuba-shack-nassau-201605-11The diving was superb; sharks, rays, eels and all the usual suspects were out and about. We did walls, wrecks, shallow reefs and Hollywood movie sets. Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the safari to the “Lost Blue Hole”. It was a shorter boat ride than the usual trip to Exuma, which was appreciated. But the dive was electric. The Blue Hole was formed when the roof of an underground limestone cave collapsed. It is approximately 100 feet in diameter with a depth of 300+ feet (no one dove down to check), which made exploration of the perimeter as interesting as probing the depths. We located the cavern located on the north side at 80 feet and I watched as fearless Elena explored the hidden recesses. Outside of the hole we observed Caribbean reef sharks, sharp nosed sharks and a good sized loggerhead turtle entering and exiting the hole. On the perimeter, numerous southern rays foraged in the sand. Lobsters and eels were found hiding in the numerous coral heads that encircled the opening. It was a more exciting dive than I experienced at the Blue Hole in Belize.

The Lost Blue Hole was followed by a second dive on the north side of Rose Island, a shallow reef system that was filled with tiny critters requiring patience and good buoyancy. While we were diving, the crew was setting up our lavish picnic lunch. Once back on board, they anchored the boat close to shore and the party started. Great food, some adult beverages and a lazy afternoon of sun, beach, and water. Our shore excursion over, we navigated the rest of the way around Paradise Island and New Providence Island giving everyone a wonder sight-seeing excursion.

Without a doubt, the trip would not have been as successful without the outstanding efforts of Stuart Cove and his staff. Right from making the reservations and dive arrangements with Pam Christman to our reception and easy check in at the Dive Shop with Liz and her staff. Elison in Fin Photo made sure we had an experienced photographer to record our adventures. Our dive staff; CleeJ our captain, Terri and Gigi our dive leaders were spectacular in their never wavering energy and excitement. They made sure our nitrox was on the boat, all the details for the Safari and the daily dives were well attended to as well as certifying our new divers. I know of one young lady who was very sad to have to say goodbye to her new found friends. As for the rest of us, we know we will be back for 2017!

But it wasn’t all diving, we had great times at Capriccio’s, Café Matisse, and Luciano’s. The food consumed along with a few glasses of wine and the stories told of the day’s adventures made for memorable evenings. Judy and her staff were on their A-game for the traditional barbeque on Sunday evening. I really think they out did themselves in the quality and preparation of the food. It is my humble opinion that Judy is the only person I know who can make the Caribbean lobster taste good, it is usually tough, chewy and tasteless. Her recipe was tasty and tender.

Fortunately, I was able to stay an extra night which allowed me to try dinner at Mahogany House located at Island House Resort and I have to tell you it was excellent. Now I have a dilemma, too many great restaurants, not enough nights. Perhaps we will extend next year’s trip by one extra night.

Trip Photo Gallery